Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Volcanic Ash Fazes El Al
In the run-up to Shavuos, we might remember that Chazal explain the word “Sinai” as the place at which sinah/hatred descended to the world. The giving of the Torah created distance, envy, and rejection. One of the elements that produces much hatred of Jews is the way they take care of each other. Jew-haters resent it. (Ironically, among philo-semites it is also one of the reasons cited for admiring Jews!)
A good part of my day is spent developing relationships with non-Jewish groups. Meeting recently a human rights advocate from the Pacific Rim, I mentioned that I had difficulty as a Jew understanding how so many people are oblivious to or silent in the face of terrible persecution of members of their own group. I pointed to the huge number of Koreans kept in inhumane captivity in concentration camps in North Korea – but many South Koreans don’t want to hear about them! He thought about it for a moment, and responded that he had never considered that, but upon reflection he didn’t understand it either.
The following lines from Sara Bedein of Efrat are not surprising, but describe a class act on the part of El Al in taking care of other Jews
Our son Noam was stranded in Europe since Sunday after a week’s speaking tour in Holland. His flight home was scheduled from Holland for Sunday night so he could be home for Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. His only option was to try and get a train together with millions of others to Rome where there supposedly planes leaving and El Al was going to send more planes to pick up stranded Israelis no matter where their ticket was from in Europe. After a 20 hour train ride (with stop overs) Noam arrived at 10:30 PM to Rome last night and the airport was empty! except for Israelis who made their way from all over Europe, waiting for the Jumbo airplane El Al sent over. No other airplanes were leaving even though the skies were clear to go. Noam was the last to board the plane, amazed that no other country or airline sought to look out for its citizens like Israel and its national carrier. Again the airport was e-m-p-t-y! El Al staffers who welcomed them warmly and made everyone feel at home.